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1919 Garage Patent

Seeing how far parking structures have come is a good exercise to see how far they can still go. Twenty-five years ago, Rich & Associates gathered copies of many historic parking related patents illustrating some of the early creativity in parking design. Some of these patents date back as far as 1919.

The patent below is for a design created by Eugene Higgins in 1918, a fellow Michigander who hailed from Jackson, Michigan. This unique spiral ramp design was conceived for use as a self-service parking structure or a storage building. At the time, parking buildings were primarily attendant parking operations. Mr. Higgins’ design attempted to eliminate the need for valet attendants allowing motorists to park their own vehicles on one of the multiple levels.

While we have no record of this building type ever being constructed, the design represents one of the earliest plans for helical or spiral express ramps used in many parking structures today. While the helical or spiral ramp designs have significantly evolved over time, many parking designs and systems of today started with innovative engineers like Mr. Higgins.

At Rich & Associates, our planners and designers are always looking into new ways to improve parking like many of the early innovators like Mr. Higgins.

parking structure design

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The Rich & Associates Family

Rich & Associates Parking ConsultantsOur R&A Family:

Our veteran staff, comprised of architects, engineers, and planners, have turned Rich & Associates into a family-like culture of professionals who genuinely care about one another and our clients. “A lot of our staff has been working together since the start of our careers. We kinda grew-up together and went through many of life’s big moments. From getting married to having kids, and even grandkids now. It’s definitely a special environment and not something everyone gets out of their workplace.” -Sally Rich

Rich & Associates by nature is a family based company employing many children of our founder, Richard C. Rich. “Even if you are not blood-related, they make you feel like family”-Deb Kolar, bookkeeping

Recipe for Success:

Turnover is definitely not a problem at Rich & Associates. On average, our employees have been with the company for over 20 years. Our veteran staff is what sets Rich & Associates apart. The familiarity our staff has with one another is almost comical. Two of our senior designers have worked together on so many parking projects over the years they finish each other’s sentences. “They know each other so well it’s like they know what the other is going say about a project before they say anything at all.” -Sally Rich

Our culture is unlike many other firms in the industry. “I think the most important part of running a company is having everyone buy into the success of the company. When people are working for the success of our company along with the success of our clients— great things happen.” -Richard C. Rich

The entire company’s drive is to achieve and maintain a successful business and working environment even during stressful times like the recent recession. The past recession was a trying time in our company. During that period, we saw many firms shut their doors. But we banded together as a family and not only survived but thrived.

Over the past few years, we have been blessed. We have been engaged in many exciting parking projects throughout the country and have added new members to the Rich & Associates family. The holidays are a good time to reflect on how blessed we are to have a great place to work.

However, none of this would be possible without the many great partners and colleagues we have had the pleasure of working with and the many great clients we serve. Because of you, Rich & Associates will be celebrating our 55th anniversary in January 2018.

From the Rich & Associates family to yours, we want to thank you and wish you a very happy and healthy Holiday Season.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Cost of Parking
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Cost of Parking at Disneyland

Parking has significantly risen over the years. Today, it costs about $20 a day to park at Disneyland. But can you guess what year it cost only .25¢ to park there?

The answer is 1965.

Can you believe it only cost .25¢ to park at Disneyland!? While we must consider inflation, it is hard to imagine parking costs so low! Although we may never see parking costs this low ever again, keepsakes like this are a reminder of the “good ole days” when parking costs were as the cost of a gumdrop.

Disneyland Parking

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New Life At — Bloomfield Hills Park

If you worked in the A/E/C (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) field from 2008-2014 you are very much aware that the industry was in a very tough place. Large projects were halted, people were laid off, and some firms even folded. The recession hit our industry hard, but we are a tough group of individuals, who because of our grit and determination made it through that hard spell. 

Prior to the recession, there was a major mixed-use development project named “Bloomfield Park” underway in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The original development was to include 19 buildings made up of office space, retail and residential uses; along with three parking structures. Phase 1 construction, estimated at around $350 million, began in 2006. Abruptly the project was halted in 2008, due to the beginning of the recession. Left behind was a wasteland of unfinished buildings including the three parking structures.

Today, 9 years later new life is being breathed into the project. The new developer “REDICO” brings a new vision to the project, which includes demolishing most of what was originally constructed including two of the three parking structures. Construction of the 3rd parking structure was approximately 90% complete when the original development was stopped in 2008. 

Rich & Associates was retained by the developer to provide consulting and design services so that construction of the 3rd parking structure could be completed. When Rich & Associates assessed what construction work was in place and developed a scope of what work was needed to complete the structure, it was determined that due to code changes, deterioration, and outdated technology presented created new design challenges including; 

  • Code changes that required design and installation of all new handrails in the vertical cores.
  • Changes in the elevator shafts were required to accommodate elevators with technology different than the original design in 2006.
  • Repairs were required to some areas of the structure that deteriorated over time.
  • The roof of the vertical core (which was not in place when the project was stopped) was originally designed as a precast roof. The cost of erecting that precast roof piece today was prohibitive. Therefore, a new steel roof system was designed instead.

Finally, The heavy traffic on Telegraph and Square Lake Road will no longer be littered with reminders of the 2008 recession. The traffic will be invited to visit “The Village at Bloomfield” in the near future. Demolition on the unsoluble buildings is underway, and construction on the rest of the project is hoping to get started in Spring 2018.

 

 

 

Project Spotlight
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1855 Place | Michigan State University

Big things are happening at Michigan State University.

MSU has invested in a new development that includes residential units, and office space. The new development known as 1855 Place, includes 429 units in 10 separate apartment buildings and an 881 vehicle parking structure.

We were lucky enough to work with world-class partners, Neumann Smith, Walbridge, and Kerkstra Precast in the development of the parking structure.

 

Michigan State Parking Structure

MSU Parking Deck

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Meet Heather, Our New Autocad Technician!

Meet Heather Derstine the newest addition to Rich & Associates!

Heather is a 5th-year student at Lawrence Tech University, and graduating in December with a degree in interior architecture. She is working at Rich & Associates as an Autocad Technician. I sat down with Heather to learn a little more about her.

Originally from Midland MI, Heather chose Lawrence Tech because they had an interior architecture program and because it gave her the opportunity to continue her soccer career in college. She said her favorite part of playing soccer at Lawrence Tech was finally making the conference tournament in her senior year. Heather has two siblings, a brother that studies bio-chem at Hope College in Holland, MI and a sister that is a physicians assistant outside of D.C.

Heather said she really enjoyed going to Lawrence Tech because of the hands-on approach in their architecture program. The projects give students the opportunity to build a personal portfolio before they even start in the workforce.

Fun Facts about Heather…

She is totally into Sci-Fi! She loves Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars. She said she likes Star Trek, but definitely, doesn’t consider herself a Trekkie. Heather said she had a really great summer and was able to go to the beach frequently. She also took a trip to Florida, for a leadership conference with her sorority.
Like most people… Heather wasn’t sure what to expect when she found out that Rich & Associates designed parking structures. But after working here for a couple weeks, she said. She has found that there is much more to the design and the overall planning and implementation of parking. She admitted, “Now I find myself evaluating parking structures wherever I go; before I don’t think I noticed them at all.”

Heather is definitely a bright young and talented architect and we are excited to see what she is capable of at Rich & Associates!

 

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Infograpic
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Infographic: Keys To Community Engagement

Keeping your community and stakeholders involved in your planning process is a critical part of a successful parking plan. The fieldwork data is only going to get you so far. You need to understand the ins and outs of your parking system to come up with a parking plan that is going to make the most sense for your constituents. And while all the community engagement is necessary, it’s definitely not easy information to get. Planning a successful community engagement meeting with stakeholders is key to getting the right information.

So… lucky for you I consulted our parking planning professionals to get some insight into their experience on planning a great community evolvement session. (hint: they said to always bring snacks).

Enjoy!

keys for community engagment

 

Project Spotlight
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Critical Milestone Reached in the Construction of Henry Street West Garage

Henry West Rendering

 

Critical milestone reached in the construction of the Henry Street West Garage

The final piece of precast was recently erected on a new parking structure at Henry and Park in Detroit, Michigan. The structure is a first-class building which will support the residential and retail developments within The District Detroit, a transformational 50-block development between Midtown and downtown Detroit. The centerpiece of The District is the Little Caesars Arena, the new home of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons. The new arena will be surrounded by an exciting mix of retail, restaurants, office and residential developments creating an energized walkable destination for people to live, work and play.

The new 530 car structure features an articulated precast concrete façade and a mixed-use eight-story liner building. The liner building, also constructed of precast concrete, will include ground level retail and restaurants and seven levels of loft-style residential units and a rooftop sky deck offering views of the city, One Eleven West.

Working closely with Olympia Development of Michigan, Street-Works Studio, Colasanti-MIG JV (construction managers) and architects for the residential liner building, Rich & Associates served as prime design firm providing parking consulting, architectural and structural engineering design. We are looking forward to its grand opening in time for the Red Wings home opener. 

 

Infographics
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Infographic: 7 Tips to Becoming a Successful Project Manager

The Art of Project Management

Project Managers Matt Jobin and Rick Kinnell have over 50 years combined experience at Rich & Associates Parking Consultants. During their time as PM’s they’ve seen A LOT of curve balls (which I’m told is an understatement). Big fires and little fires are definitely going to happen over the course of a project, and you must figure out how to put them out (all you can hope for is these fires are metaphorical ones…). Matt and Rick’s ability to roll with the punches, and meet deadlines is what makes them successful project managers.

There’s More than One way to Skin a Cat…

One of the most interesting things about Matt and Rick is that their management styles are completely different from one another. There is no manual to being a project manager and Matt and Rick are proof of that. Matt tends to have a more hands-on style, while Rick relies on his big picture management skills to run a successful project. Figuring out what techniques work and what doesn’t, is part of becoming a successful PM. But… No one has time for that! We need results now! So I sat down with Rick and Matt to get YOU 7 tips for becoming a successful project manager… ENJOY!

 

 

Project Spotlight
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Ford Motor Company’s Major Investment in Their Future

The First Parking Deck is on the rise in Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford has been a leader in the automobile industry since Henry Ford built the first Model T in 1908. They were innovators then, and still continue to hold that reputation with their 10-year plan to totally redesign their corporate campus into a modern, green and high-tech campus. Saying that we’re excited to be a part of such a massive project would be an understatement.

As design/build consultants to Devon Industrial Group of Detroit (DIG), Rich & Associates is providing parking consulting, architectural and structural engineering design services for the first parking deck now under construction. “It’s been great working with the Ford team and the DIG team over the past several months on this project and it is equally exciting to see the project rise out of the ground”, said Richard Kinnell, AIA, Vice President and project principal on the project for Rich & Associates, Inc.

Parking Deck Conceptual Design and Rendering by SmithGroupJJR